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Artist Profile: Chris Rhea a Guitarist Singer Who Made a Mark Three Decades Back

Chris Rea is a singer who is still active.He appeared on the scene in the eighties of the last century. Chris Rea may not be as popular now than in the eighties but he has sold more than 30 million albums world wide and that by itself is no mean achievement. He remains a top singer and another hit can be expected from him

The eighties seem a long way off, but in that decade a British singer with a husky voice and a slide guitar stole the scene as one of the UKs most popular song writer and singer. He is Chris Rea, a singer who is still active. Chris Rea may not be as popular now than in the eighties but he has sold more than 30 million albums world wide and that by itself is no mean achievement.

Early Life

 Chris Rea was born in 1951 at Middlesbrough, England. He was from a well to do background as his father Camillo Rea along with Chris’s uncle Gaetano Rea owned an ice cream factory that operated 21 cafes. Chris did not study much and soon left school to work. He worked in his father’s factory as well. For some time he was almost like a wayward lad till the age of 22 when his love for singing and the guitar blossomed. In 1973 he joined Middlesbrough band Magdalene. He did not stay long with the band and formed his own band Beautiful Losers.

Rise as a Pop Star

Chris again left this band as well when he bagged a solo recording deal with Magnet Records. He followed up by releasing his first singles "So Much Love" in 1974. There was no looking back for Chris now and in 1978 he released his first solo album “Whatever Happened to Benny Santini?”

This album was in away a breakthrough for Chris as the first single from the album, "Fool (If You Think It's Over)", turned out to be Rea’s biggest hit in the US and reached #12 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the Adult Contemporary Singles chart. This album was also nominated for a  Song of the Year Grammy, but lost out to  Billy Joel's "Just the Way You Are”. Unfortunately this Album did not set the Thames on fire in England and his next 2 Albums floundered in choppy waters.

Downslide and Rise again

The downslide continued and by 1983 Chris was being written off as a popular singer. But fate took a hand and suddenly and inexplicably his album "Water Sign" became a surprise hit in Ireland and mainland Europe. The album sold over half a million in just a few months and his song “I Can Hear Your Heartbeat" stormed the box office and became among the top 20 across Europe.

 There was now no looking back for Chris as he churned out some great hits till 1989. This was in away his golden period, but again fate took a hand and he suffered from ill health.

Ill health

This period of ill health put brakes on his career and only in 1998 he returned with The Blue Café which made it to the UK Top 10. But this was a flash in the pan as Chris was detected with pancreatic cancer. In 2001 he underwent treatment for this disease and recovered to make another comeback.

The next few years saw Chris undertake many tours and come up with a few singles. But his golden period was behind him.

Personal Life

 Chris is happily married to Joan and has 2 daughters. He is a family man with not a whiff of a scandal about his personal life. Politically he is a Tory supporter and goes to great lengths to support the Conservatives.

Chris Rea is certainly not a ‘has been’ and one can be sure that he may again come out and give a stupendous hit.

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